It seems like injuries have yet again put the Bears in a sticky situation as the season dies down and the crucial final games approach. As the injuries pile high, our playoff hopes begin to dwindle. Chicago was forced to place the most reliable player on their team, Robbie Gould, on injured reserve Tuesday after he suffered a left calf muscle injury during the pregame warm-up against the Minnesota Vikings Sunday. Since the Bears are battling it out for the top spot in the NFC North this is not the time for a season-ending injury. Bah, humbug I say.
16-year veteran, Olindo Mare was signed by the Bears after he won a tryout at Halas Hall Tuesday. Mare has some big shoes to fill as Gould is the fourth-most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history at 85.6 percent. Mare has moved around quite a bit in his career playing for the Carolina Panthers last season, as well as the Seahawks, Saints and Dolphins. He’s not a terrible kicker, with an 81.2 percent rating over the last 15 seasons, but as we know our Bears offense can sometime struggle with the whole “touchdown” idea and we heavily rely on our kicker to produce field goals from 35-50 yard range.
The injuries are really racking up for the Bears as the season winds down. We lost the heart and soul of the defense when middle linebacker Brian Urlacher tore his hamstring. Cornerback Tim Jennings is still recovering from a dislocated right shoulder he suffered against the Seahawks, but he’s optimistic about the Green Bay Packers game this weekend. The list doesn’t end there, defensive tackle Stephen Paea has an injured foot, defensive tackle Henry Melton injured his shoulder against the Vikes, defensive end Shea McClellin suffered a sprained MCL in the loss to the Vikings as well, but hopes to return soon. Just a few more to go, reserve safety Craig Steltz has a chest injury and cornerback Sherrick McManis injured his knee. Both Steltz and McManis are joining Robbie on the IR. *Fun fact: When placed on injured reserve a player must remain there for eight weeks before returning. Thus, none of the Bears players will be returning this year since their injuries happened too late in the season.
Basically, the Bears special teams and defense are in shambles heading into week 15 against the Packers. Hopefully Julius Peppers, Lance Briggs and Peanut Tillman can hold down the fort against the Pack.